I’ve heard all too often about organizations that sell phenomenal products or services, but then fall short of providing an equally great customer service experience. This can hurt a company’s reputation more than they know and leave their patrons with a sour taste.
This brings to light the two major hurdles that a business faces when working to generate sales; the first being to convince the customer that they need the product in the first place, with keeping the buyer satisfied well after the point of purchase as the second obstacle. Companies will grow in large part thanks to the level of repeat business that they can obtain as well as the amount of referrals they receive from current patrons. If they don’t do either, there’s a good chance that the organization won’t be around for long.
Since launching my company, TV Ears, in 1998, our team has strived to provide superior products and a matching customer service experience by ensuring that dedicated teams are available to assist our clientele with any issues or concerns they have following their purchase. Yet the biggest value they bring to our company is in ensuring that the customer knows that they matter. Here are five service tips that we follow to keep patrons happy that we fell could benefit any organization.
1) Listen, Listen, Listen. Allow customers the time to express their frustrations or dismay without cutting them off or correcting them in mid sentence. They want to speak to someone that will listen to their problems and provide a solution. Say, for instance, that the buyer didn’t follow the manual instructions properly. Allowing them to state their problem – no matter how annoyed they appear to be at the service rep that had nothing directly to do with their issue – will mostly likely bring to light the right way to offer a quick and long lasting solution to their problem.
2) Uncover the whole story. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes to understand from where they’re coming. While they may be angry about something minor, there could be other events that led up to their disappointment. For example, perhaps they traveled a considerable distance in order to purchase the product and returned home only to discover it’s broken. Understanding all the reasons behind a buyer’s frustration will help a service representative better appreciate their problem and work toward getting it resolved.
3) Share experiences. Make sure that employees document each customer interaction so they can be shared with team members. Doing so will help other service reps take care of similar situations more efficiently.
4) Act immediately. If a customer complains about your product or service, either directly or via a rant on Yelp or a social network, it’s important to contact the individual right away to resolve the problem. Chances are pretty good the buyer will remove any negative comments and instead commend the company on its quick response and solution.
5) Make a good first, second and third impression. Some companies are known for having phenomenal customer service, while others are not. Be friendly and conversational with patrons at every touch point – and not just at the time of sale – in order to stand out. For example, make it a point to follow up with the purchaser – either by phone, email or snail mail -- after they receive the product or service that they ordered. Consumers will surely remember that and possibly sing the company’s praises through word of mouth referrals.
The best organizations emphasize that each employee plays an instrumental role at the company and needs to be responsible for providing exceptional customer service. If staff members are able to follow the tips listed above, problems shouldn’t escalate or result in detrimental comments towards to the company. Content customers lead to a successful business that yields positive results.
About the author: George J. Dennis is the founder and CEO of TV Ears, fast-growing manufacturer of doctor recommended TV listening solutions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.